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Sissy Spacek on choosing to live outside of Hollywood, and fighting for abortion again

Move over Bridgerton — Sissy Spacek and JK Simmons are here to show all the young lovers out there what “happily ever after” looks like. The veteran actors play older married couple Irene and Franklin York in the new sci-fi series, Night Sky, premiering May 20 on Prime Video. But age hasn’t reduced the couple’s love for each other, and that bond carries them through an adventure that involves mysterious operatives and a far-off planet. “We’re not all bad,” Spacek jokes to Yahoo Entertainment about representing gray-haired couples everywhere. (Watch our video interview above.)


The 72-year-old star of such film favorites as Carrie and Coal Miner’s Daughter has firsthand experience with being part of a long, loving marriage. Spacek wed production designer Jack Fisk — whom she met on the set of her breakout film, Badlands — in 1974, and they can boast to be among Hollywood’s most enduring (and endearing) couples. “That’s what attracted me to this role,” she confirms. “I understood that deep, deep [connection] and long time growing up together. I understood the relationship.”

JK Simmons and Sissy Spacek in the Prime Video series, Night Sky.  (Photo: Chuck Hodes/Prime Video)

JK Simmons and Sissy Spacek in the Prime Video series, Night Sky. (Photo: Chuck Hodes/Prime Video)

Spacek and Fisk made the conscious choice early on in their marriage to live outside of Los Angeles, purchasing a Virginia farm in 1978, where they raised their two daughters Schuyler and Madison Fisk. “We moved there not because we didn’t love LA, but we wanted to raise our children in a more natural environment,” Spacek explains. “[An environment] where they could make mistakes, ride ponies, do stupid stuff and climb trees and not have to deal with that celebrity child thing.”

Both of her daughters ended up entering the family business anyway: Schuyler Fisk is an actress and musician, while Madison Fisk works behind the camera as a production designer and art director. And Spacek says that neither of them has sought a parental counsel when it comes to relationship maintenance. “Nobody comes to me for advice — not even my children!”

THE OSCARS(r) - ARRIVALS - The 88th Oscars, held on Sunday, February 28, at the Dolby Theater(r) at Hollywood &  Highland Center(r) in Hollywood, are televised live by the Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images Television Network at 7 pm EST/4 pm PST.  (Photo by Rick Rowell/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images) SISSY SPACEK, SCHUYLER FISK, JACK FISK

Spacek, left, attends the 2016 Oscars with daughter Schuyler Fisk, husband Jack Fisk and daughter Madison Fisk. (Photo: Rick Rowell/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

In light of recent headlines about America’s ongoing abortion debate, two roles in Spacek’s long, storied career have taken on urgent new relevance. In 1992, she starred in the made-for-HBO biographical drama, A Private Matteras Sherri Finkbine — a ’60s era children’s television host who was forced into the public eye after seeking to terminate her pregnancy for medical reasons.

Four years later, she appeared in another abortion-themed HBO film, If These Walls Could Talk, which presented three stories about three different women facing the same choice about whether or not to carry a child to term. Also starring Demi Moore and Cher, that movie remains one of the network’s most highest-rated original films, and led to a sequel that aired in 2000.

Spacek’s story in If These Walls Could Talk is particularly resonant in the present moment. The actress plays a mother of four children whose plans to return to college are impacted by an unexpected pregnancy. As many news sources have noted, women who already have children are among the most concerned about losing reproductive rights if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court.

Cher, Demi Moore and Spacek attend a New York City screening of If These Walls Could Talk in 1996. (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)

Cher, Demi Moore and Spacek attend a New York City screening of the HBO film If These Walls Could Talk in 1996. (Photo: Ke.Mazur/WireImage)

“It was just a wonderful project with three wonderful directors,” Spacek says of making If These Walls Could Talk. “I was a young woman and all those things were very much on my mind. We had the opportunity to do something that had personal significance to women and was also certainly political.”

Surprisingly, neither If These Walls Could Talk nor its sequel are currently streaming on HBO or HBO Max. But Spacek says that audiences don’t need to revisit either film to understand the challenge ahead if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Was as expected. “We’re in a strange place right now,” she muses. “I think people pretty much understand what we’re up against. You know, we just never thought that after fighting that battle in the early ’70s we would have to fight it again. But that’s kind of the way the world works.”

Asked whether she’s hopeful for the future in spite of current headlines, Spacek says that the obstaclesing the world aren’t insurmountable if people are willing to put in the work to meet them head-on. “We’ve gotta be busy, because we’ve got a lot of things, climate change is a huge one, and all the things that we’re going through politically. I have grandchildren now, and I want the world to survive for them and I think a lot of people feel that way. Character, values, truth and courage — all of those things are really important.

Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Jimmie Rhee

Night Sky premieres May 20 on Prime Video

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